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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had a Sony HT-SS380, which was in repair at Geek Squad for over a month. What happened was that GS diagnosed the receiver and determined it was intermittently/sporadically dropping the HDMI audio signal. They couldn't fix it themselves so they sent it to Sony and I was told Sony was repairing it until today, when they told me Sony tried diagnosing it again themselves, but couldn't reproduce the issue and so just sent it back to GS without bothering to change any boards (like the HDMI board which was probably the issue) or doing any other kind of repair. So, in short, they took my HTIB for over a month and were ready to return it to me without doing a single thing to actually fix it. I convinced GS to give me my money back for the HITB, which was only about $175 since I had found a real good deal on mine via a Google shopping search (unannounced sale at Best Buy... just $150 for the HTIB plus $25 warranty).


Anyhow, I got the money back as store credit and was looking for a HTIB that had the same key features as my HT-SS380:


3 or more HDMI inputs

No built-in DVD or BD player

Auto Setup/Speaker Calibration


I found the Yamaha YHT-399UBL for $400 and ordered it. I'm curious if others here know about this model or similar ones and can tell me what to expect from it vs. the Sony HT-SS380 it's replacing. How good is the AVR and speakers/subwoofer? Does the HDMI (video) passthrough preserve in the incoming video signal 100% or does it do stuff like clip WTW and BTB? How good is the YPAO™ Sound Optimization for Automatic Speaker Setup? Anything else I should know about Yamaha's HTIBs?


Thanks In Advance
 

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I've had the older YHT-395 (RX-V371 receiver) for over a year and it has been a really solid performer. We use it every time the tv is turned on so it has a considerable amount of hours of use. Never gets hot and always sounds great. Mine doesn't have the auto calibration feature but I'm not convinced on how well those work anyways for HTiB speakers. You'd probably get just as good of results using the audio portion of the S&M 2nd edition cal disk.


The speakers are not the best but no HTiB system has really good speakers to begin with (that's one of the reasons I think auto-cal is a waste on these systems). Our family room is about 15x20 with a 10' cathedral ceiling and the speakers fill the room nicely. But, I'm not a true audiophile and we don't listen to teeth-rattling, window shaking audio. There are some good tricks to squeezing out the max from the speakers though. I will upgrade to better speakers someday but these are certainly adequate for our use at present. HTH a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto Pylot  /t/1473913/how-does-the-yamaha-yht-399u-compare-to-the-sony-ht-ss380#post_23346161


I've had the older YHT-395 (RX-V371 receiver) for over a year and it has been a really solid performer. We use it every time the tv is turned on so it has a considerable amount of hours of use. Never gets hot and always sounds great. Mine doesn't have the auto calibration feature but I'm not convinced on how well those work anyways for HTiB speakers. You'd probably get just as good of results using the audio portion of the S&M 2nd edition cal disk.


The speakers are not the best but no HTiB system has really good speakers to begin with (that's one of the reasons I think auto-cal is a waste on these systems). Our family room is about 15x20 with a 10' cathedral ceiling and the speakers fill the room nicely. But, I'm not a true audiophile and we don't listen to teeth-rattling, window shaking audio. There are some good tricks to squeezing out the max from the speakers though. I will upgrade to better speakers someday but these are certainly adequate for our use at present. HTH a bit.

thanks, that's helpful


can you elaborate on the good tricks to squeezing out the max from the speakers?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlasmaPZ80U  /t/1473913/how-does-the-yamaha-yht-399u-compare-to-the-sony-ht-ss380/0_20#post_23347666


thanks, that's helpful


can you elaborate on the good tricks to squeezing out the max from the speakers?

The speakers are small, and stated specs are not really that reliable for determining audio quality because most mfrs don't tell you how those specs were arrived at (anechoic chamber, etc), and of course your environmental features also play a big part. That being said.........


1. Front R/L should be at least 6-8' apart from each other. You'd be amazed at how that can make a difference.


2. The satellites (front R/L, side R/L) should be slightly above ear level when sitting in what you determine to be your optimal listening position. Usually that's dead-center of your front sound stage.


3. Angle your R/L speakers slightly towards the optimal listening position.


4. The sub's position will be determined on your room orientation and furnishings so you'll have to play around with that. For us, the sub is placed to the left of the front sound stage, about 3' to the left of the L speaker and slightly angled out, about a foot from the corner. The family room is currently carpeted so I placed a small plastic tupperware container underneath the sub (you can't see it) to elevate it about 2" above the carpeting. Works rather nicely in clearing up the sound a bit.


5. My Yamaha doesn't have the auto-cal feature so I just "calibrated" it following the manual procedure using speaker distance and the test tone and tweaked the loudness to taste. I will be checking it again later on after we finish our remodeling (the HTS will have to be moved for a few weeks) with the new S&M, version 2, cal disk.


6. Set the sub's crossover to 120Hz and all speakers to Small. You will lose some of the boominess of the lower frequencies but you will gain much better dynamic range in your satellites because they don't have to work as hard to reproduce the lower frequencies. That frees up more energy for the higher frequencies.


7. Set your speakers to 8 ohms. You may have to crank up the volume a bit more if you like them louder (we rarely go above -25dB) but that results in your receiver working less harder which keeps it cooler. Ours is on everyday for at least 4 hours per day and is just slightly warm to the touch. However, you need to give it plenty of ventilation which is true for any receiver.


8. I don't like artificial sound so I never use any of the presets (Concert Hall, Movies, etc). I just set mine to Straight which passes thru the audio track as it was recorded whether it be 5.1, DTS-MA, what ever without any further processing.


9. Don't bother with the Equalizer. I just left mine at default. It's not that discriminating and you will find yourself constantly messing with it depending on your source.


10. My side speakers are less than 35' wire length from the receiver so I just used 2-wire, ribbed, 16AWG wire. In fact, it's heater cord wire that I bought cheaply at our local hardware store. The receiver has binding post connectors so you can really use any type of connector you feel comfortable with. I just bare-wired mine and the sound is really clean and clear.


I think that's about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks, I bought a 100 ft spool of 14 gauge speaker wire since the supplied wire was far too thin and hard to split/strip


i ran the auto-cal which does eq stuff in addition to level and distance


the end result is a pretty significant step up in overall audio quality vs. the Sony HT-SS380... I think yamaha might make better HTiBs, at least in the $250-450 price range
 

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@PlasmaPZ80U - I forgot to mention that you should also set your MaxVol of the receiver at about 15dB less than it's maximum setting. That protects your system from damage should the Volume control get accidentally cranked all the way up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto Pylot  /t/1473913/how-does-the-yamaha-yht-399u-compare-to-the-sony-ht-ss380#post_23352996


@PlasmaPZ80U - I forgot to mention that you should also set your MaxVol of the receiver at about 15dB less than it's maximum setting. That protects your system from damage should the Volume control get accidentally cranked all the way up.

I think mine is at -20.0 dB for max and -32.5 dB for initial.


default for max is +16.5 dB and I think the volume was -40.0 dB when the receiver was turned on for the very first time
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Regarding your comments about the auto-cal, have you ever had a HTiB with that feature? I ask because while I know such features are not the same as a good professional auto calibration or even using a SPL meter yourself for that matter, it's still a lot better than leaving everything at defaults on the receiver and you'd be surprised how close it gets basic parameters like distance and level to the ideal values vs. what you can do by ear with something like S&M 2nd Edition BD. For example, it gets distance to the nearest 0.1 feet from where you place the microphone.


As far as whether this HTiB has speakers worth setting up right (or at least closer to right than defaults), I'd say calibration is not about the potential of the equipment in the absolute sense but rather about making the most of whatever existing potential it has.
 

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^^^^ No, I have never had a receiver with an auto-cal feature. I have heard a couple of comparable systems to mine that were auto-cal'd and they didn't sound any better, or worse than mine. My receiver does have a calibration function but it is "manual", in the sense that it doesn't use a microphone so you have to input distances, etc. and then test with the tone function, which is what I've done. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that the auto-cal feature of these receivers is useless, quite the opposite, but sometimes what the auto-cal says it should be, just doesn't quite sound right. It's similar to panel calibrations, sometimes personal preference comes into play.


I agree about maximizing the potential of your system, but that can be achieved quite effectively without the use of auto-cal, it just takes a little more work, especially on these smaller-speaker systems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Good point, one can always start with the auto-cal and then make tweaks from their primary listening position using test tones either from the receiver or from a test disc like Spears & Munsil. I imagine the next step up would be using a SPL meter with a test disc.
 

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^^^^^ we are starting a major remodeling project soon so the HTS will be taken down entirely and placed in another room until the project is done. I won't bother to set it up because of space so I will have to use the built-in speakers of the tv
until we can move it back to the family room. At that point in time, I may just get an SPL meter and see what I can come up with. We're going from a carpeted room to a hardwood floor so the acoustical environment will change. I'm also running Cat-5e to that room so I can hardwire my devices (blu-ray player, AppleTV2) and not have to depend on WiFi for those.
 

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^^^^ yeah, I've seen that. I think RatShack has some as well for about the same price. Maybe I can quietly add an SPL to the remodel budget
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
What exactly does the speaker impedance setting do (6 ohms vs. the default 8 ohms)? When I do auto-cal with 8 ohms the crossover gets set to 120Hz, but when I do auto-cal with 6 ohms the crossover gets set to 80Hz. The latter results in less boomy bass at higher volumes but still packs a punch when playing something like the THX demo with really low end bass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
another question is whether I should buy a higher quality subwoofer cable? the included one looks pretty thin/cheap


would it make a difference?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlasmaPZ80U  /t/1473913/how-does-the-yamaha-yht-399u-compare-to-the-sony-ht-ss380#post_23429991


What exactly does the speaker impedance setting do (6 ohms vs. the default 8 ohms)? When I do auto-cal with 8 ohms the crossover gets set to 120Hz, but when I do auto-cal with 6 ohms the crossover gets set to 80Hz. The latter results in less boomy bass at higher volumes but still packs a punch when playing something like the THX demo with really low end bass.
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlasmaPZ80U  /t/1473913/how-does-the-yamaha-yht-399u-compare-to-the-sony-ht-ss380#post_23429999


another question is whether I should buy a higher quality subwoofer cable? the included one looks pretty thin/cheap


would it make a difference?

At 6ohms, there is more power available to the speaker which results in greater loudness (you don't have to turn up the volume as much). At 8ohms, it's the opposite. For the little HTiB speakers that comes with the packages, they can handle 6 or 8 ohms but applying more energy to the speakers cause the receiver to work harder and the speakers to lose definition at the higher frequencies. The ohm rating is also part marketing. A lot of mfrs will list their maximum RMS at the 6ohm setting so as to make their system more desirable if the buyer is looking strictly for a system with the highest RMS rating not knowing how that can affect the fidelity. Auto-cals confuse me as you know. I think the x-over gets set to 120Hz at 8ohms (like mine is) so that the energy that is required to push the lower frequencies is shunted to the sub so that the sats are less stressed and can perform better. You should be able to hear a noticeable difference in clarity leaving the speakers at 8ohms and just moving the x-over from 80Hz to 120Hz (the 120Hz giving more clarity). At least that's how I understand it. Mine are set at 8ohms with a sub x-over at 120Hz and it sounds great, for what they are.


I changed the cheapy-feeling sub cable with a better made one from MediaBridge. Didn't notice any real difference in sound but the cable quality was a lot better for only a few dollars. Made me feel better
Monoprice sub cables would be just as good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
well, the weird thing is I'm actually using slightly higher volume settings with the 6 ohm setting... probably because there's less annoying boom from the sub and as a result I can hear dialogue more easily/clearly
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
also, the auto-cal sets the crossover on it's own (and I don't want to change it as it will affect the PEQ (equalizer stuff for each of the six speakers that is also part of the auto-cal)


as far as clarity for higher frequencies, I've only watched one BD movie with the 6 ohms setting/new auto-cal so far... so I need more data points before I can really compare it to 8 ohms setting/original auto-cal
 
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